Mullingar Rugby Club has applied for planning permission this week to construct the latest match-standard synthetic pitch in Leinster at its Cullion grounds.
Subject to an application for a Sports Capital Grant being successful in late April, and allied to a local fund-raising drive, the club hope to have the first phase of this €500,000 development fully functional by October this year.
The second phase, planned for completion by the end of 2015, will see the synthetic coverage extended to include most of the training area as well.
This is the club’s second major external infrastructural investment in the last number of years, after installing €280,000 worth of IRFU-standard floodlights in 2010.
However, the club would like to reassure its near neighbours that these floodlights will not be moved to this new all-weather facility, and the only lights on the new synthetic pitch will be the smaller training lights that are there at present.
“This pitch will allow all squads from the U7s to the First XV to train and play matches and no longer be dependent on weather conditions,” said club president, Mick Lambe.
“A planning application is being submitted this week to Westmeath County Council, and we are applying for a grant to the Department of Sports and Tourism to cover some of the funding,” he confirmed.
In an effort to raise sufficient funds to cover the balance, the club is to host ‘Who Wants To Be a Thousandaire’ on February 28 in the Annebrook Hotel, with tickets at €15 each.
This will be the third such development within the parish in recent years, following the provision of similar facilities at Cullion Hurling Club and Mullingar Shamrocks.
The Sports Capital Grants - formerly Lotto funding - is controlled by the Department of Sports and Tourism which opened its €40m coffers for applications on January 17.